Soils and Plant Nutrition

Soils and Plant Nutrition

The activities of the division are directed towards the establishment of optimum nutrient quantities of plant material necessary for the productivity improvements whilst ensuring profitability and preventing environmental degradation through integration of soils nutrient dynamics and plant nutrition and fertilizer inputs.

In addition, four laboratories, at Talawakelle, Hantane (Kandy), Rathnapura and Walahanduwa (Galle) operating under the division offer services for the analysis of soils, leaf and fertilizer samples to promote rational use of fertilizer and to ensure quality standards

Key Research Areas

  • Integrated soil fertility management strategies
  • Alternative sources of fertilizers, rates and frequencies of application
  • Development of site specific protocols for fertilizers
  • Development of strategies for the improvement of integrated plant nutrition packages
  • Development and evaluation of slow release compound fertilizer
  • Development of micro nutrient fortified foliar formulation based on micro nutrient status in tea growing soils
  • Identification and evaluation of bio-fertilizers (PGPR) for tea
  • Assessing pH buffering characteristics of tea growing soils in Sri Lanka
  • Development and evaluation of methods for soils and plant nutrient analysis
  • Potential of tea factory wood ash as a plant nutrient source
Major Achievements

  • Establishment of fertilizer input levels for tea from the world’s first statistically designed tree crop experimental trial by T. Eden
  • Fertilizer recommendation for nursery, immature and mature tea plants
  • Substitution of sulphate of ammonia with urea for mature tea fertilizer recommendations
  • Substitution of imported phosphate with ERP for mature tea fertilizer recommendations
  • Zinc sulphate foliar fertilizer recommendation
  • Dolomite recommendation for correction of soil pH
  • Introduction of regional specific fertilizer recommendation
  • Site-specific fertilizer recommendations
  • Finding out sulphur deficiency first time in tea plantations in Sri Lanka
  • Separate fertilizer recommendation for mature tea in tea small holdings
  • Established leaf nutrient diagnostic ranges which can be used as a diagnostic tool to study tea nutrition and determine nutrient sufficiency or deficiency. (2004)
  • Characterized bench-marked soil series in the tea growing areas of Sri Lanka based on soil K and Mg buffering capacities.
  • Characterized bench-marked soil series in the tea growing areas of Sri Lanka based on soil pH buffering capacities.
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